The National Council for Art and Culture (NCAA) has appealed to members of the House of Representatives to grant the body a legal framework to go after the organizers of Big Brother Naija (BBN) over nudity displayed on the show as well as powers to arrest and prosecute crossdressers in the country.
The Director General of the council, Segun Runsewe, made the appeal during an investigative hearing by an ad hoc committee of the House on Tuesday, October 4.
There is a bill in the House seeking to amend Same-Sex (Prohibition) Act to prohibit cross-dressing in Nigeria. The amendment, sponsored by Muda Umar (APC, Bauchi), seeks to amend sections 4 and 5 of the principal act. The bill proposes that “A person engaging in cross-dressing is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment of six months or a fine of five hundred thousand naira.”
Speaking before the lawmakers, Runsewe, who has never hidden his distaste for crossdressers, particularly Bobrisky, said that he ordered the police to disrupt the birthday party Bobrisky had organised in 2019. Runsewe said he has in the past condemned the nudity exhibited in the BBNaija house.
“I am the first person who took Big Brother Nigeria to the NBC to report them because they were having…I took it up and Big Brother (organisers) tried to reach me and I told them that if the culture in other parts of the world is to be naked – nudity, etc they should not bring it to Nigeria because our culture is rich and it respects the integrity of our country,” he said.
A lawmaker, Alex Egbonna (PDP, Cross-River), complained that the intervention has not stopped the display of nudes on the show.
“That is the problem with Nigeria: you start something, you don’t end it. But they were still naked even in the last event. That thing you started, taking them to wherever you took them to – has not ended, that is what I’m saying. They are still doing the same thing. They should have learnt. There is no solution to what you started and that is the Nigerian factor,” he said.
Responding to the observation by the lawmaker, Runsewe said a legislative framework granted by the house will empower the agency stop nudity and activities of crossdressers.
“I will give you an example. When Bobrisky started behaving like a woman, I rose and followed him to Lagos. I ‘scattered’ his (birthday) party and I told him, ‘This is not our culture.’ But at the end of the day, that is just Part 1. This honourable house just needs to empower us with just a legal framework and that nonsense will stop” he said.